Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Three Castles Building, Marshall Street

It was once a famous Marshall Street, Johannesburg landmark, now it's just another ruin...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can you expect from a nation that lets their own living places go to wrack and ruin. Unfornately this government will hold nothing sacred that ever came out of the "Apartheid Era".

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good grief.... I wanna immigrate

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God I did immigrate....

10:07 AM  
Blogger london123 said...

Was this place used to be "The Dungeon", a nice gay club in Marshall Street!! It was THE place to go in Johannesburg!!! We used to go there every Saturday all the way from Klerksdorp.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Connections in 1 Pretoria street..... the nice gay gay (happy) days? Is there any place for a gay tourist to go in Johannesburg where it is safe to have a night out? I plan to go there in October, but dont know where to go.....I left SA for the Uk about 5 years ago, but I do miss the nice life in the OLD SA.. the braais, weather etc....

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember going there when it was called Icon, it was an alternative/goth/punk/metal club. It was safe and we could sit in the park across the street til sunrise. I knew some of the people Jimmy the bouncer and Ian the Punk that lived there) It was never the same after it burned down in 1998/9 or there abouts. No restoration at all, just squatters. The doors night club was further up the street, its been the same for years. I left SA over 3 years ago but I remember it being a complete fukup long before I left. Sadly. Glen

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to add to that, some of the punks were too young to get into that club, but the city was still safe enough for them to be out over night til sunrise. We would then walk across the city to the double decker bridge to the flea market where we would sit all punked out and have our photos taken. Glen

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also used to go to this nightclub when it was called Tchaikovsky's and when it was Icon. I was just a teenager and we would walk between the clubs in town. Never had a hassle. Such a shame to see and awesome venue left to rot. Jimmy was living there when the place burnt down - wonder where he is now...


2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am astonished, whilst at university, in Pretoria, there was talk of "africanising" the university/education system, everything the so-called "europeans" left behind, infrastructure, buildings, an education system, in essence, a civilised way of living your life - clean, hard working, law abiding, and all the rest..has been destroyed, and in the name of WHAT?????

11:19 AM  
Blogger McCormack_Sydney said...

So sad people. My wife and I left JHB 9 months ago, and currently live in Sydney. i owe so much of where I am today to JHB and the people there who gave me a hand up when i needed it. I sometimes feel guilty that i left my mates in what can effectively be called a warzone.
I live in hope that SA can turn the corner.
Woza moya Afrika

2:28 PM  
Anonymous q said...

22 years after the sign was installed, it is now rather jaded and rusty, will it end up in a Scrap shop?
I knew it as a lunch diner before it became Gay !

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not surprised at whats happening with the Boks in Aus.......the days when a Bok team could make extended trips and remain in harmony with one another disappeared long ago. Its to do with the unsettled state of the state back home. Theres been too much disharmony at home, nobody really knows who's who back here anymore, its all for "myself", the ANC is crumbling in disarray, the opposition is practically non-existent, and the mood in the country is very negative, amongst blacks and whites. One cannot expect a sports team to have a positive outlook under these circumstances. According to a survey done byThe New Economic Foundation in Britian, SAfrica was rated as the 158th unhappiest nation out of 178 countries world wide. SAfricans have a life expectancy of 48.4, Incidentally Zimbabwe rates as the unhappiest nation, with a life expectancy of 37. And theyre our closest neighbor. The happiest nation is Vanauta in the South Pacific a couple of hundred miles off the east coast of Aus. (don't play rugby) The factors which were used by experts to determine happiness levels in a complicated calculation were BEING satisfied with life, life expectancy, and the "environmental footprint" (the effects of industrial development, mining and urbanisation on nature)
The Industrial powers incidentally, did not shape up too well, the US were 150th on the index, Britian 108th, According to the NEF's center of well being, "The index reveals patterns that show how we can ensure fuller, happier lives for everyone - as long as we don't exceed the limits of our environmental means" They showed that despite the damage they've done to the environment in the name of progress and wealth creation, their inhabitants are not necessarily happier.

I don't think they took race relations into account in their calculations. Interesting, unless you happen to live in a country such as ours ?

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly you have no idea that the owner of the nightclub (a white guy called Warren) Icon burnt the building down to claim from insurance before later killing himself. The police investigated it and found it was a case of arson. The people with money chose to leave the city. Look at all the construction in Sandton and then tell me about the state of Gauteng...

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it was Warren who burnt this place to the ground, using ill gotten gains to buy Wings Beat Bar in Braamfontien. He used to be one of the main DJs at The Doors nightclub [prior to this venture] featured elsewhere in this blog. I worked with him for some time between leaving The Doors and him starting Icon.

The infamous alternative club Glass Onion that later became Alcatraz and Alice-D was literally around the corner. I used to DJ at Alcatraz and Alice-D, and remember this place as The Dungeon during the Glass Onion and Alcatraz years and then as Tchaikovskys and then finally Icon after the demise of Alice-D.

Just down the road from here was the one of the original Joburg punk clubs, Club Double Image where I also Djed for a number of years. It all such a long time ago, I can't remember the street that Image was located on....

Jimmy work for Roland Raker who over the years owned Club Double Image, Glass Onion, Alactraz, Alice-D, Tchaikovskys, The Cramps up on Jeppe street [I think!] and a place on the road leading from the Chelsea Hotel corner [another place I DJed in] going towards Yeoville that got closed down by the police in a massive raid in the middle of the night.

Its sad to see it go like this, during the mid 80s to the mid 90s, there was alot on in terms of late night entertainment in the city centre, and to see it destroyed is very very sad indeed.

Great blog, its good to see how things have changed.


1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:53 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

The SA Government are a bunch of ignorant asshole ex-cons.

They are the opposite of King Midas, everything they touch turns to shit.


I thank God every day that I was able to leave.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy shit, this place is gone. Are thre still whites living in these areas?

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank fuck i`m in Australia!!!!!

1:08 PM  
Blogger Scribbler said...

I remember driving past this building and they had a red carpet leading up to the front entrance. I think at the time it was called "Big D" or The Dungeon - a gay nightclub. I remember being amazed that there was a castle in Joburg!

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so ashamed. So deeply ashamed that merely by being a South African currently living abroad I am associated with people who post on this site. You seem to ignore all the fantastic things that are happening in the country at the moment and all the regeneration that is going on in JHB city centre as well. It is our home and we should be proud of it, or at least try and work together to make it something to be proud of.

11:18 PM  
Blogger canadachick said...

totally looks like a derelect ghost town, thank goodness i did immigrate urghhhhhhh

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved going to this club and walking back and forth btwn there and The Doors.. Can't imagine that I'd even want to consider walking around there at night now..

When metal/alternative clubs move out of town (i.e Doors to Edenvale) then you just KNOW it's dangerous in the city!

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny on all these blogs nobody blames the incompetant black man for any of this. Always more and more excuses bu its not the black man. So that is why SA won't work so all the people who have hope, I am sorry to say, with blacks arround thee are none. Good luck in packing your bags in getting out of bantustan. Those who stay, good luck too. I will be reading of your murders in the news.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and plenty of buildings that once looked like that now look like this....

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Roland Raker well... I was too young during his peak as a club owner to remember all the details, but I knew enough.

I believe Glass Onion and Alcatraz were his most succesful days, until his bouncers ended up beating up and killing some dude outside... (What I had heard), which forced Alcatraz to be closed.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks so vibrant and ethnically diverse. Diversity is after all the greatest strength.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Roland not dead now? I may be mistaken (hopefully anyway) but i heard that he was.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Roland not dead now? I may be mistaken (hopefully anyway) but i heard that he was.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous laurenbelle said...

WOW James, you brought back a lot of memories, Club Image was the first nightclub i went to (at 13)was it cnr Von Wielligh and Melrose? Then ofcourse on to the rest - including Alcatraz! I remember you Dj'ing (requesting "Der Mussolini" and "Country Death Song" each week). Remember Pumpernickel where you would get a 7-8 happy hour and a 9-10 one too, Moolah's that used to make a fortune out of us and got a little close for comfort when inviting girls upstairs to "try on another size" and ofcourse the arcade in Small Street Mall below Moolahs, nice to read back and be a little nostalgic from time to time, those were fantastic times!

1:55 AM  
Blogger TP-2005 said...

some people wrote they want to 'immigrate', but you're already there. perhaps you mean 'emigrate'?


8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never seen anything like this. I live in Finland, a scandinavian nation on its way to "multiculturalism". On the other hand, the destruction that is seen on the photos can also be seen at early stage in Stockholm, Sweden. Its well hidden, but its there. Thank god the Finnish people have already started to see what the hell is going on. These black people actually seem to be worse than the Arabs extremists. Perhaps the Arabs want to kill us all but at least they have a reason for it. There is no reason in those photos, all i see random black people doing...nothing? but the place is still destroyed. I guess brick walls dont break easily, so they dont bother to break them too.

I knew nothing of SA before i accidentally came to this site. Then i read about the countrys history and present and so on.
We have had our "apartheids" and "Sowetos" in Europe, and therefore i can comfort you: restoring a first world country takes less 20 years. Estonians have done already it, Poland is very close and so on... But everyone must participate, work hard and stay optimistic. Im sorry, but i cant see this as the future of SA. The people you have photographed have no idea of any kind of work or participation. Sure SA isnt even destroyed yet, but good luck holding back the forces of nature, especially when they operate the governoment.

4:48 AM  
Blogger The Myburgh's said...

Guys, the buildings are not the problem. It's everything around the buildings thats causing the problem.

I find a lot of people on this blog are just plain racists from both sides of the colour spectrum. which for me is a shame.

There is an amazing growth in SA in the industrial sector and that is expected for a country in SA'S situation after the new "transformation". The sad thing for me is that if the rest of the shite is not sorted out this growth is gonna collapse around everyone, including the government.

I disagreed (and still do) with the apartheid government for what they did to the non white people of SA, it was inhumane and down right horrible.
They caused a lack of education as we all know among these people. The problem for me is that the "New SA" government was apart of this "no education" thing that was happening. That coupled with a dislike for "white" people of SA causes a bad situation. (this dislike goes both ways)

We need to start allowing SA to be democratic and as cheezy as this sounds that starts with the people.

For those who say look a Sandton, I say thats fine but its a fake image of what is really happening. For those who say look at the buildings in town, I say stop complaining and rather get involved some how in helping these buildings get restored or find place to move the squatters.

I married a German lady and moved to Berlin for 3 years so she could finish her studies, now we are in Australia so I can finish mine. And one thing I can say is that killing your fellow countryman is NOT the norm (in the western countries the SA's like to follow so much) no matter what the colour. I have never felt so safe in my life. In SA we also just accept this violence as the norm so its become reality. Something we think we can't change.
It will be a difficult thing to change but as we've experienced change is possible. And when we can truly forgive each other for the past then all this stuff will fall into place and correct itself.
When people then do wrong (both black and white) whether its killing or trashing a beautiful old buildings they will get punished for their actions.

And I can promise you that if it does come right it will be the best place on earth to live.

Oh, and by the way I played guitar in a band when I was younger that played at Alcatraz and Alice-D, called Abhorrence. For those who remember us.


9:04 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

OMG! The Dungeon! The memories come flooding back: the fun we had. Also very glad I immigrated...

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not alone
Fotos about ending of Detroit (USA). Shocking! Sorry but tekst only on russian lang.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

memory lane as we no it does not exist anymore,its a shame and disgrace,i feel my identity has been violated and i need never see my town of birth ever again goodbye joburg!!!!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

move to Sweden!

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move to Sweden!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rest of the world had no right to force the end of Apartheid. The PC crowd never gave a thought as to why it was necessary to impose it.

One look at these photos shows how idiotic it was to turn control over to blacks.

You'll never see stuff like this on the news. The media hardly reports anything about South Africa now--for obvious reasons.

There is nothing sadder then to see your memories crumble into dust. My heart goes out to all whites still left in that frightening country.

6:13 AM  
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11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight into the decline of Egoli....are you still going to post further updates and pics?
Keep up the good work.
Zambian Down-under

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We hate them in the US as well. Every corner of this planet has a name for blacks that describes how they are viewed in a particular society. In my extensive travels, I've never found a country where the name is complimentary.

Long live the old SA.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose these places are a step up from a shanty town - not that many white SA's ever really thought about that

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Dianne Chandler and loved to sing on a regular basis at The Dungeon in this building. Remember Ronnie..... Toronto, Canada is home now. Heartbreaking to see these pics.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so nostalgic - I used to go to all the clubs mentioned in previous posts and used to walk on my own (female) from teh bus station down to Alcatraz, without being harassed or feeling threatened. My memories will remain.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I used to trip out on LSD in that building every Friday night, I think I might have burned it down by mistake!

11:18 AM  
Blogger rusty said...

well, just responding to the first comment.

If you where tthe Gov, you would also destroy anything that reminded you of the president that made your people suffer.

You can immigrate anywhere, but home will forever be you home...

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I used to live with Warren Dickie and his mum Gladys in Alberton just behind Alberton City shopping center.

Let's be serious here. The guy was a ruthless heartless evil and volent person.I saw himbeat countless people for drugs and money that was owed to him. I also saw himbeat people for money because they owed other people.

He'll be sadly missed.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

building is actually for sale at the moment at R4m,

10:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

building is actually for sale at R4m

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to go there when it was Tchaikovsky's, but that was years after Club Image {Von Weilligh Street}, Decadance {which became Le Club}, the Doors {after Heaven} I remember being able to walk about {carefully I might add but all the same} I used to walk from Club Image to Le Club, looking at your pics I am glad to be out of there....

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SA and Rhodesia were undermined by the US and England (the Scots really don't count for anything do they ?- in fact I think most of "Scotland" is Arabic/Paki, like England). It is disappointing that the Boers didn't produce patriotic leadership, kick the English out and develop an A bomb (which as I recall was being toyed with in the 70's). Brute force is the only thing the USAN's and Limeys understand, otherwise they trash your country and, in your case, turned it over to a sub race that has proven its incapabilties over and over. The SA people were sold out at all levels of their leadership, so disappointing.

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Pixie said...

i used to work as a barman at Icon and i too remember walking between Doors and Icon....well,Icon and the 24 hour pizza place across from Doors....Pumpernickels was the place to be before hitting Doors and really is a shame to see how time takes its toll on everything....i now live in the UK but still miss my days,well,nights,growing up on Marshall Street....LONG LIVE THE MEMORIES!!!!!!......

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope Roland is alive and well and lives in Hartebeesport Dam. He is available for contact on Facebook and there is a whole group dedicated to Alcatraz on there too for those of you that wanna catch up!

We used to go to the Dungeon and Champions as well to perve over the gay boys - lots of fun ha ha!

PS> death of skin heads wasn't the reason Alcatraz closed down that was way before the final closing.

Cheerz D ;)

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warren Dickie was definately NOT a ruthless voilent person!!!

I am his cousin and he was the nicest, sweetest, softest person I have come across!!! How dare you insult someone like that who is no longer with us! Not only is he no longer with us but his mother and father have also sadly passed away. He was brought up by respectable parents and was a beautiful person with beautiful dreams. He may have dabbled in drugs etc but certainly did not make him a bad person.

RIP Warren. We will love you always.

Your cousin, Jodie

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Cristina said...

This used to be our place *tears in my eyes*...without fail every Friday and Saturday night we used to cue up the stairs with our bottle.Ronnie had everything from Asthma Pumps to teargas.I worked across the road which was then IGI Life and watched as during the week Ronnie would spend everyday cleaning & fixing the club to make it perfect for the weekend.Even the fire captain said that it was the only club he would feel safe having his daughter at.There has never been another Gay Club like it, it was home to our community.I have extremely fond memories of our times there and would love to know what happened to Ronnie and all our friends,video's of the wonderful parties and photos.If you read this and hv info my email at Hotmail is cyborgplan_net.We love you Ronnie.Cristina

2:29 AM  
Blogger South African Scenic Beauty said...

Thank God im in Europe

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This used to be a famous goth/rock nightclub (and before that a gay sex club) that closed down because of an accidental fire hence its disrepair. Nobody has yet purchased the building.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And now read this:


7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys,catch a wake-up.This is Africa and things just turn to a new... what new! It's as old as Africa it self "africanasation" thats the way the brothers do it,full stop.Look at the rest of Africa,good way to start.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Wayne Holmes said...

The before picture:

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Lorenzo said...

Wasn't this an coloured club across the road from Idols in the 80's/90's ?

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regards to Jame's post what happened to Roland Raker ? I remember he was a diamond dealer. I DJ'd at Double Image for a week but was fired because I played too much alternative music instead of punk. There was a friend of mine from Belgium who I went to school with and who worked for Roland, cannot recall his name now. Fond memories..

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Lorenzo said...

James, you not the guy with the blond hair who was studying at Wits around 1988/89 or are you the guy with the black curly hair who replaced me at Double Image ? If you are the guy with black curly hair, I still have your Crass record which I told you was stolen



4:02 PM  
Blogger bruce said...

african negroes are stupid(70iq) they can't run anything but a stone age camp let alone a country.if you whites want to survive you had better stick together and arm your selves against the negro criminals.we have to do this in the usa.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Garth said...

The scene died with the end of traz for me. What a fantastic youth I had right there. Now to see what happend round the corner...I still have my VIP lighter to get in.

2:06 AM  

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